The southern leg of the controversial Keystone Pipeline is now operational, carrying up to 700,000 barrels of Bakken crude from Cushing Oklahoma to export terminals on the Texas coast every day, but opposition continues, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The $2.3 billion southern leg of the project is the terminal portion of what is planned to be a much larger project carrying Canadian tar sands crude from Alberta all the way to a terminal in Nederland, Texas. TransCanada says the pipeline is now carrying about 300,000 barrels a day, and should ramp up to about 520,000 barrels per day by the end of this year.
But opposition lingers from environmentalists and from Texas property owners who remain angry that the state's eminent domain laws allowed the pipeline to be built across their land, even though it has no tangible benefit to them or to their communities.
"Eminent domain laws were created in Texas for Texas companies who need to transport products across the state," said Julia Trigg Crawford, a northeast Texas landowner who is a leader in the fight against Keystone and TransCanada. "They are not for a foreign company transporting a product made outside the United States across our land for an expert market."
Eminent domain laws are generally used so one stubborn landowner cannot hold up a major project of local concern, like a school, library, or highway, by refusing to sell their property or by holding out for a higher price.
TransCanada President Russ Girling says the Keystone will be the 'safest pipeline ever build in the U.S.'
"The project is good for American and food for Americans."
But Crawford says she isn't convinced. She says there have been 14 spills just during the test phase of the southern leg of the Keystone XL, and she is not convinced that sensors placed under the pipeline will do much good.
"I am going to walk my land every day as other landowners will," she said. "We know it is not the fancy sensors that detect leaks, it's the landowners walking their land."
The Obama Adminsitration has not approved the northern portion of the pipeline, citing environmental concerns.